The busy nature of game development means that clues are often left behind in code, often pointing to assets or features that were changed or removed in the final game. Sometimes the clues can take a long time to uncover, as seems to have been the case with a Mission Mode in Mario Kart Wii.
It was spotted on the MrBean35000vr channel, which often has a heavy focus on modding and exploring the Mario Kart series; it was that channel that accessed and then explored Mario Kart 8 in detail to reveal some neat perspectives on the track designs, but was also targeted by Nintendo to take those videos off YouTube. In recent times the channel has focused mainly on Mario Kart Wii, in any case.
Still digging around in the (now retro?) racer, this past weekend the channel shared some interesting information on what appears to be an abandoned 'Mission Mode'. It makes sense that it was under consideration for the Wii game due to its presence in Mario Kart DS, and was particularly difficult to spot; which may explain why it's been hidden for so long.
Details are in the video and description below.
You may be wondering, how has nobody found this before now? The reason all this took so long to find is just because the game doesn't try to load these screens at all, ever, even on the menus that would once upon a time have contained them. So in order to get at them, you'd have to convince the game it was supposed to load them first, which I did, and then politely asking them to render actually works! Moreover, these screens change the game state into an unused mode, similar yet different to that of Competition and Tournaments, revealing a bunch of features that were once part of Mario Kart DS, hiding away in the depths of Mario Kart Wii's code.
The menus for Mission Mode have no available text, but the game is trying to load them; they've simply been erased. Similarly, a massive file that would've contained mission parameters is not present, and without it, the mode can't start - UNLESS you simulate its existence, which is what I did. It attempts to load files out of the /Race/MissionRun folder on the disc, but that folder is empty, but that affects nothing since that folder would only have contained extra data (like where to place goombas or similar). As such, I was actually able to play a few games with the game in Misson state, and show off some of the game modes.
The game modes include:
- Get miniturbos to score points
- Get item boxes to score points
- Kill enemies to score points
- Wheelie to score points
- Drift (not miniturbo) to score points (not shown here)
- Kill topmen to score points
- Gather coins (not shown here)
- Pass through gates (not shown here)
- Complete 3 laps within time limit (not shown here, seems to be two modes like this)
- Hit other players to score (not shown here)
- Boost start to win (???) (not shown here)
- Some other mode where you must perform an action to yourself score, but we can't figure out what action. May not actually work. (Also not shown here)
- A mode that seems to do nothing. Nothing in the game looks for this mode, it seems. Probably removed. (not shown here)
Mario Kart Wii offered quite a lot of content without the missions, to be fair, but it's also fun to see these sorts of discoveries on what might have been.
Missions have been absent since the DS game; would you like them to make a comeback?